Based on recent data compiled by Google Trends, the projected growth and interest rate for careers in the world of gaming is on the upturn, having reached the 95th percentile in 2018. The demand for this job market is lucrative, and the different options for breaking into the industry are versatile. From animation and programming to development and audio engineering, there are many routes to choose within this dynamic field. If gaming sounds like the ideal vocation for you, these four strategies can be the launchpad you’re looking for to jumpstart an exciting new career.
Learn the Marketable Skills.
Before you can promote yourself as a credible and authentic gaming professional, you need to hone the required skills first. In order to build a successful game, it’s important to know the basic framework that games operate on. This means being able to understand various game softwares, platforms and technologies, among other areas of proficiency like coding, interface design and network communications. In addition, you need to learn how to think creatively and strategically, as game development is both an artistic and technical sphere. If you’re unsure how to acquire these skills, there are many educational resources such as videos, blogs and website tutorials that can expand your knowledge base.
Attend Networking Functions.
While refining your areas of expertise, you also need to form relationships with people who are currently in the business. Achieving success in any kind of industry hinges on the connections you build, and gaming is no exception. Those who are experienced and reputable in the field can offer the inside track on how to become a standout in this ambitious, competitive space. You might even find someone willing to mentor you, listen to your ideas, suggest constructive feedback and introduce you to other people who can advance your career. The most effective networking approach is to attend gaming conferences—the time and financial investments are worthwhile in the long-term.
Establish a Portfolio of Work.
Once you learn the necessary skills and obtain the right contacts, the next course of action is to create a portfolio that exhibits your most impressive work. Regardless of whether you’re seeking a position at an established company or an indie startup, employers want visual proof that you know enough of what you’re doing to be an asset on their team. A digital portfolio is the most efficient medium to showcase what you are capable of in terms of both aesthetic design and functional gameplay. In addition, it boosts an employer’s confidence in even more if some of your games have been published on the Apple Store or Google Play for general consumption, as this indicates you can actualize a finished product.
Consider Moving for a Position.
If you want to maximize the chances of landing a job in this sector, be prepared to relocate where the industry is in high-demand. Some markets tend to be more profitable for game development than others. So in order to enhance your overall career prospects, you might need to weigh the potential for a cross-country—or even cross-continental—move in the imminent future. The most popular gaming hubs across the U.S. are San Francisco, Austin, Seattle, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York City. Other global hotbeds include England, Canada, Japan, Germany, Poland, Sweden, France, Spain, Australia and the Netherlands. The payoff of living in one of these concentrated areas can be tremendous.
Breaking into this industry can lead to a successful, rewarding and profitable career, but given the popularity, it can be difficult to gain that initial foothold. If you’ve just started out in the gaming field, and you’re not sure how to build momentum, recognition and credibility, these suggestions can point you in the right direction. Whether you’re a creative, a tactician or a balance of each, there’s a job waiting for you in this field—if you know the strategies required to be successful.
Bio: Nigel Blythe-Tinker, Executive Chairman
Nigel is Executive Chairman for VGW, the company that revolutionized the social gaming industry with their Chumba Casino and Global Poker brands. He has extensive United Kingdom and international corporate experience spanning over thirty years and covering all forms of mergers and acquisitions, divestments, corporate finance, restructuring, AIM and FTSE 100 flotations, corporate governance and incentive schemes. He has 17 years’ experience within the international gaming sector.